Karen Spencer Q and A Interview
Can you share your back story with us, a bit about your childhood?
I grew up in a small town. I didn’t want for anything as a child, but money was tight with my Dad being a postman and my mum a housewife. Finishing school and getting a job was very much what you did. I knew city life beckoned and I needed to move away from the small town mentality.
Were you a determined child or has that developed?
I was quietly confident but shy and I was the girl in class who wouldn’t put her hand up to answer the question even though I knew the answer and knew it better than those that did answer it! Quietly confident turned into determined the older I got.
Can you share something about yourself that is not widely known?
I planned to live and work in Paris. Newcastle upon Tyne isn’t really that different!
How and when did you know you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
It wasn’t until my corporate life came to an end when I took voluntary redundancy so I could look after my two young children. I started doing admin jobs and then office manager jobs for other small business. I loved the freedom, flexibility and control this gave me over my life. There was now no going back to the corporate world and working for someone else. I knew I needed to forge a career working for myself but at this stage as what?
Tell us about your businesses…
I’m a business coach for holiday home owners. I help them to maximise their income from their property (and that doesn’t just mean more bookings which surprises many!) I work 1:1 with clients and also offer online group programs such as the 7 Step Holiday Rental Success Formula Program. Marketing, makeover, money and mindset are at the core of what I teach. I also run my own holiday cottage – Spring Cottage – in North Yorkshire. (www.luxuryspringcottageyorkshire.co.uk)
What did you give up to get to where you are today? What did you have to sacrifice?
It’s taken many, many hours locked away in my study to build my business. Set up costs are relatively low but what I have sacrificed is free time. Employed friends having weekends off, my husband taking the children out and me staying at home “to work”. “Mum you’re always on the computer” comments can hurt but it’s all for the better good.
Genuine friends have stuck by my and still invite me for coffee, knowing I won’t be able to make it!
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do?
Keep Karen the business owner and Karen the friend and family member totally separate and compartmentalised. I have to remind myself that just because it’s my passion others don’t get it. Even those closest to me, you can see it in their eyes, wonder when I’ll get a ‘real’ job. I find it hard that there’s such a big part of me they just don’t get and I can’t talk to them about. I’ve tried but it just ends in frustration and tears!
What are your goals for 2017 and beyond?
I want to help more holiday home owners fall in love with running their own business, to grow in confidence and get them to see the potential they have in their holiday property. I have income targets in place and I want to focus more on the styling and makeover side of the business as that’s where my true passion lies. I also want to write a book about setting up and running a profitable holiday rental business.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Do you have any big goals?
My children will have left home by then and my husband approaching early retirement. I still plan to be running The Business of Holiday Rental because when you’re doing a job you love it’s not really work. And I’m just as happy to work from my laptop from an alpine chalet as I am from my home office!
Can you share 3 #BizTips for Women in Business
1. Recognise that your knowledge is valuable to others and that it’s OK to earn money from something that comes naturally to you
2. Set up a free closed Facebook group to nurture potential customers
3. Blog regularly to build your credibility
How can people best connect with you online? twitter, website, youtube?
Website – www.thebusinessofholidayrental.com
You can read more from Karen Spencer -Setting Up A Niche Consultancy Biz inside #BizRocks Magazine Issue 47
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